Blondie

At the Durham Performing Arts Center.

No shit, forreals, Blondie! They’re touring again.

There are three original members left: Debbie Harry (of course), guitarist Chris Stein, and drummer Clem Burke. And they’ve added a lead guitar, bass player, and a keyboard (and keytar!) player.

To answer the obvious questions:

  1. Yes, she can still sing.
  2. Yes, she still looks good – for a 66 (!) year old.
  3. Yes, she did the rap section in “Rapture”.
  4. Yes, she still wears those big black sunglasses and black mini-dresses.
  5. Yes, she’s probably had some work done.

It was a quick show: maybe an hour, plus two encores. Which was fine. They played all their hits: “Dreaming”, “Call Me”, “Atomic”, “Rapture”, “One Way Or Another”, “The Tide Is High”, “Heart Of Glass”. They played a lot of new stuff that we didn’t know but which was good, and sounded like it could have come from their early records; after all this time, they’ve stuck with their core sound. The only old non-hit that I recognized was the opener, “Union City Blue”; I don’t think there was anything from their first two records. I could’ve stood to hear more old stuff – maybe a little “Accidents Never Happen” or “Living In The Real World” or “Rip Her to Shreds”. Their loud, fast, punk side never seemed to come through in their hits – well, except for “One Way Or Another”.

Highlights:

  1. “Rapture” – not only did she do the rap section, she did it well; and they transitioned it into an abbreviated version of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right To Party”.
  2. Drummer Clem Burke deserves a lot of credit for their sound. He was, and still is, a great high-energy drummer.
  3. Debbie Harry is funny, and entertaining, and not above flicking a few “motherfuckers” into old lyrics, here and there. “Heart of Glass” :

    Lost inside
    Adorable illusion and I cannot hide
    I’m the one you’re using, please don’t push me aside
    We could’ve made it cruising, yeah
    Cruise, motherfuckers!

  4. The sound was surprisingly muddy. It probably wasn’t the venue: DPAC is no smokey club, it’s a brand new posh concert hall. I think the problem was the bass player. There was no definition at all in his notes, just a big muddy rumble. But, Debbie Harry’s voice cut through it nicely. We were wondering if maybe she has some digital assistance on the high end, since it’s a little surprising that she can still sing some of those songs as well as she did. I didn’t hear any obvious digital glitching, so maybe not.
  5. A few of the old songs felt kinda sloppy, while others were tight and snappy. Not sure what that was about.

Great to finally see them. I was a big fan of their albums, but far too young to see them live, in their heyday.


Cell phone pic. I hate not being close!

In a strange bit of synchronicity, the singer for the db’s, and former REM tour guitarist, Peter Holsapple opened for them. He works at DPAC.

3 thoughts on “Blondie

  1. Rob Caldecott

    Awesome. Never seen them live and would like to.

    I really wish David Byrne needed the money badly enough to reform the ‘Heads and do a final tour.

  2. MikeJ

    Holsapple gets around. He was a Blowfish for a while. I guess he headed back to NC after Katrina?

    As for Blondie, yeah, it’s a pity you rarely hear the first album. I liked them when they were just a fun, stupid pop band, but they were really eye opening when punk was the Pistols and the Ramones.

  3. Cris

    The sound was surprisingly muddy. It probably wasn’t the venue: DPAC is no smokey club, it’s a brand new posh concert hall. I think the problem was the bass player.

    And by extension, I’m inclined to blame the sound mixer. A good board engineer should know when to tone down the bass. Too many of them seem to think the crowd wants to sit in a dull rumble.

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